Science Feedback partnering with Facebook in fight against misinformation

Posted on:  2019-05-14

In April 2019, Science Feedback started working with Facebook as part of their fact-checking program. While misinformation currently floods the Internet, this program is part of Facebook’s effort to decrease the platform’s role in driving this phenomenon.

To that end, Facebook is partnering with third-party fact-checkers who are certified through the non-partisan International Fact-Checking Network (IFCN) at Poynter to help identify and review false news. The IFCN code of principles is a series of commitments organizations abide by to promote excellence in fact-checking; these commitments include nonpartisanship, transparency of sources relied on, transparency of methodology.

How it works

Facebook identifies stories that might need verification based on signals like feedback from its platform’s users and machine learning. These posts are then added to a queue of articles, photos, videos, and text posts that fact-checkers like Science Feedback can scroll through and sort by topic and virality.

When we identify viral stories that claim to be based on science—in the fields of climate and health for the moment—we invite relevant experts to analyze the main claims in the post, image, video, or article, and publish a review of the item (read more about our process). We also have the ability to report items that we review independently from Facebook’s queue and that we find to be false or misleading. Note that Facebook has no influence over the stories that we choose to review, nor on the final verdict that is decided by the scientists.

When a fact-checker’s conclusion is that a post contains—or links to—false information, Facebook takes the following measures in an effort to curb the spread of misinformation on its platform:

  • 1 – inform those who have shared the post, as well as those who are about to share it, that a fact-check has been performed;
  • 2 – append a link to the fact-check at the bottom of the post;
  • 3 – reduce the future reach of the post by showing it lower in News Feed;
  • 4 – reduce the ability of domains and Facebook pages that repeatedly share false information to spread and monetize their content.

If a fact-checker’s conclusion is that the post is not fully inaccurate but only partially so—for example, it is misleading or the title of the post is false but not the body content—it will receive a softer demotion in News Feed.

As of today, there are over 50 organizations around the world covering over 40 languages which are part of the partnership. Science Feedback is the only organization dedicated to verifying information in scientific fields by empowering the scientific community to take an active part in this endeavour to make the Internet a more credible place.

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